Comedian Jo Brand, rock band Chase & Status and singer Jess Glynne are among the big names performing in Devon in 2019. Here’s our pick of the best events, from eccentric fairs and food festivals, to sailing regattas and book festivals.
The challenge: to coax as many worms out of the ground as you can without touching them. Utterly bonkers.
5 May, Blackawton
Devon County Show
House-sized heifers, daring dogs and speed sheep shearing - this agricultural show at Exeter’s Devon County Showground is the biggest event in the county’s social calendar.
16-18 May Westpoint Showground, Exeter
North Bovey Village Fair
Our village fair is fantastically British. Expect duck races, may-pole dancing, sheep shearing, morris dancing, tea and cake stalls and eccentric fairground games.
20 July, North Bovey
Bread Weighing and Ale Tasting Ceremony, Ashburton
Take part in historical pageantry at one of Devon's oldest festivals.
20 July, Ashburton
Totnes Orange Races
A bit like the Pamplona bull run, just with oranges.
August date to be confirmed
Maypole dancing, bale tossing, terrier racing and vintage machinery are some of the big draws at this historic agricultural show, which inspired the traditional folk song Widecombe Fair.
10 September, Widecombe-on-the-Moor
Tavistock Goose Fair
Tavistock's annual Goose Fair has attracted traders since the 12th century. Today, stallholders from all over the country descend to sell and to entertain.
9 October, Tavistock
Flaming Tar Barrels
For reasons lost in antiquity, flaming tar barrels are carried wildly through the streets of Ottery St Mary, against a backdrop of a gigantic bonfire crowned by Guy Fawkes.
5 November, Ottery St Mary
Exeter Festival of Food and Drink
Gulp, gurgle and graze your way around the grounds of Exeter’s cultural quarter
4-6 May, Northernhay Gardens
Salcombe Crab Festival
Inspired by the famously flavoursome brown crab caught off the South Devon coast, Salcombe Crab Festival – or Crabfest – is an annual celebration of the local fishing, food and tourism industries. Enjoy a full day of events including cookery demos, crab picking masterclasses, crab pot making, live music and much more.
6 May, Salcombe
English Wine Week
Enjoy wine tastings, food pairings and vineyard visits during English Wine Week.
May date to be confirmed
Dartmouth Food Festival
Wander the cobbled alleyways of this beautiful harbour town grazing from food stalls, and brush up on your culinary skills at cookery demonstrations and food-and-wine pairing events by big-name chefs.
18-20 October, Dartmouth
ARTS & CRAFTS
Over 200 makers, including a 3D printer, gather in the park in historic town Bovey Tracey to show off their designs. The tiny Craft Cinema, hosted in a 1967 bus, shows classic and modern craft movies.
7-9 June, Bovey Tracey
Devon Open Studios
More than 100 studios, galleries, barns and churches across Devon open their doors to display works by local artists and makers. Visitors can buy art direct from the creator, watch demonstrations and join classes.
7-22 September, Devon-wide
Shake your booty at this boutique music festival in nearby Chagford, ranked by The Sunday Times as one of the best music festivals in Britain.
19-20 July, Chagford
A traditional folk festival, with ceilidh, Dartmoor step-dance and broom-dance championships (yes, that’s dancing with broomsticks).
August dates to be confirmed, South Zeal
This non-corporate family music festival, organised by rock band the Levellers, takes place in beautiful Escot Park, near Ottery St Mary. The festival has seven stages of music, comedy and theatre, as well as art installations, food and craft stalls.
August 16-18, Escot Park
The hills come alive with the sound of music, during this classical music festival, which takes place in churches across Dartmoor and Exmoor.
11-20 October, Dartmoor and Exmoor
Comedian Jo Brand, children’s story-teller Michael Morpurgo, cookery writer Prue Leith and cricket commentator Henry Blofeld are among the big names who’ll be talking at our local literary festival.
22-24 March, Chagford
This 10-day literary festival takes place in beautiful Dartington Hall, near Totnes, includes talks high-profile authors. Previous speakers have included Julian Barnes, Ian McEwan and Penelope Lively.
5-15 July, Dartington, Totnes
Uncover murder and mystery on the English Riviera at the Agatha Christie Festival. Celebrating the life of the Queen of Crime, each year the festival attracts visitors from around the globe. Visit the Grand Hotel, where Agatha Christie stayed on her honeymoon, and take a ride on the Agatha Christie Heritage Bus to ‘the loveliest place in the world’, the Greenway Estate, Christie’s holiday home.
14-16 September, across Torbay
Celebrations to commemorate the 400th anniversary of the sailing of the Mayflower, which carried pilgrims from Plymouth to New England in 1620, start in Plymouth in May, with a history festival, and continue with the Rolex Fastnet Race in August and a series of film screenings from November 2019 to November 2020. Dartmouth continues the celebrations with a new heritage trail and light festival in November.
May - November, Plymouth and Dartmouth
Chase & Status, Jess Glynne and Razorlight are among the big names performing during this three-day music and sports festival on the beach at Croyde, North Devon.
21-23 June, Croyde
Britain’s most spectacular fireworks display returns to Plymouth. The competition is now in its 18th year and features six of the country’s top pyrotechnics companies who set off four tonnes of fireworks over Plymouth Sound as they battle it out to become the British Fireworks champion.
14-15 August, Plymouth
Dartmouth Royal Regatta
Take to the seas for this naval knees-up, one of the biggest events in the local calendar. Alongside traditional races and best-dressed boat competitions, there’s bungee rowing, with crews attempting to row against a 15-metre long bungee.
29-31 August, Dartmouth
Taking place in the privately-owned village of Clovelly, Devon, this festival showcases herring specialities, with the sound of traditional shanty singers and promise of local beer and cider.
17 November, Clovelly